Basic Information About Warts
May 10, 2012 Wart Removal
Warts are a common problem among people of all ages. This article examines the causes and presence of warts. It also looks at the environmental and human factors involved. Under consideration as well is how you and/or your child can catch warts.
Warts are the result of a DNA virus. The agent of this viral infection is the circular, double-stranded and supercoiled Human Papilloma Virus - commonly referred to as HPV. It is not a rare substance. In fact, it is very common. There are actually more than 100 different types of HPV currently identified in this family or viruses.
As is the case with large human families, while related, each one has its own distinct nature. Each type or subtype infects a certain part of the body and produces a specific type of wart. Some warts grow on your respiratory tract; others infect your genitalia. While the large HPV family does cause both respiratory papillomatoris and Genital or Venereal warts, this does not account for all members.
The most commonly recognized warts are not of this nature. They do not affect the health of their host. Most of these warts are those present on the surface of the body. These are typically neither cancerous nor harmful. In fact, the specific type of HPV responsible for the average wart on your face, finger, foot or leg is noncancerous and common. This article will not look at cancerous warts. It will not examine the characteristics or treatment of genital or cancerous warts. Its focus is on warts commonly found on the body. These are the warts perceived as blemishes. These are the warts you want to remove because they affect your appearance or interfere with how you make an impression.
HPV warts of the common variety can grow on all parts of your body. They are restricted by their nature not by the size of your body or the color of your skin. Warts are located on the top layer of your skin. (The only exception to this maxim is Plantar Wart.) In general, their growth pattern varies according to their type.
Within this specific variety of wart, there are different species or subtypes. They may be grouped as Verucca. This family includes the Common Wart, the Flat Wart, the Filiform Wart, the Digitate Wart, Plantar Wart, Subungual Wart and Periungal Wart. Each member has its own characteristics. These pertain to color, size, shape, preference for body part and difficulty to remove. These characteristics may or may not impact upon the regiment and kind of treatment you will require to remove your Wart.
Except for Plantar Warts, you will see clear signs of the presence of a wart. It sits on the surface of the skin. Only Plantar Warts - discussed further in the following chapter, dig beneath the surface. A Plantar Wart may reveal little of its external existence. It is embedded deep in the thick skin of the sole (Plantar) of your foot. The force and motion of walking ensure the wart is pushed even further into the skin. This does not occur with the other types of warts. The Plantar Wart also does not grow anywhere except the foot. Other warts have their own preferred position and growth pattern.
Common Warts, Flat Warts and Filiform Warts are all found in specific surface areas of your body. They are on your hands, wrists, legs, arms, feet, fingers, toes and face. Each wart type has its designated body part. Yet, all are found on the surface of the skin. They may be raised or flat, but they are obvious blemishes on the surface of the skin. This gives them a commonality. There are also other similar characteristics.
Further compounding the situation is the various growth patterns of the wart. You may find yourself with a single growth. You could also be the host for 100 warts. Your Warts may grow clustered together. Your warts could also be scattered in a sporadic pattern across a specific area. While, it is true, some warts are more disposed to grow together in group formation, this does not mean, they will. Warts truly are unpredictable.
Environmental and Human Factors
Warts prefer to grow in warm places. They like moist environments. This includes places like small cuts or scratches. These are most common on fingers, hands and feet. Some, particularly the Flat Warts, hide out in the beard. This is the result of the abrasions to the face from razors. The same type of Warts can occur on women’s legs and arm pits. Flat Warts make their home there if the skin is broken or irritated after shaving. Like beards, arm pits act as a moist and comfortable home.
Certain types of adults may be more susceptible to warts. People who are middle-aged are more apt to have Filiform or Digitate Warts. Overweight adults are also more at risk for Filiform Warts. They find them growing on their face.
Yet, in general, warts are more prone to appear on children and young adults or teenagers than mature people. This may relate to a developing immune system. More likely, it is the result of childhood habits. Children are very communal in their behavior. They share towels and run barefoot across shower floors. They think nothing of playing or standing for long periods of time on damp surfaces. Children from a young age to adolescence are still taking sports and gym in school. They take part in extracurricular activities where they soon may share more than a wet towel, socks or shoes. These are the very kind of environments that attract wart-causing HPVs.
Children are also more disposed to certain unhygienic habits. They are more apt to bite their finger nails. They pick at hangnails and scratch at scabs. This exposes the less protected skin. As a result, children create more possible entry points for the virus. Children and teenagers also increase the further chance of spreading the problem further. They do so by scratching at an established wart or warts. This ensures the wart has a higher incidence of spreading. This becomes particularly obvious with cases of facial warts. The development of the infestation of warts follows scratch lines made on the face.
The current condition of your skin may also effect whether you get warts. Certain conditions make you more susceptible. Among these is atopic eczema. Atopic eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It strikes about 1 out of 10 children in North America. Atopic eczema makes the skin more sensitive and receptive to other skin-associated problems. This includes warts.
Another factor in ensuring the presence and proliferation of warts is your immune system. Since HPV is a viral infection, the state of your immune system governs aspects of its ability to infect you. If your immune system is weak, compromised or fails to function properly, you are open to this, and other HPV. Whether you are a child or a mature adult, you can get warts in this fashion. Some people simply have a lower resistance to HPV viruses.
It is not easy to catch warts. While some HPV e.g. Genital Warts, spread easily, others do not. Warts are obtained through contact with an infected surface. If a person has warts, you usually will not catch them. There are exceptions. If you scratch their wart, and then touch your body, your chance of getting warts increases. However, you generally catch warts from contaminated surfaces.
If you are a constant user of public showers and gym facilities, you may have a chance of contracting Plantar Warts. They thrive in this warm and moist environment. If you wander barefoot through the communal showers, you may get warts. If you use someone else’s towel, you may come home with warts.
Warts tend to be unpredictable. Warts may grow as a singular entity. You may have only 1. At other times, you may find you have 100 of them scattered or clustered. Either situation can be a problem. They may appear and disappear quickly. On the other hand, it may take weeks or months to eradicate them. While benign, they can be relentless in their growth and spreading. In fact, some may even continue to pop up even while you or your doctor is aggressively treating them. While only a trained medical physician can identify a wart, the next chapter will provide you with some information on the various types. It will provide physical characteristics as well as other information pertinent to identifying and dealing with them.